Thursday, November 12, 2015

August 18, 1940: Crazy Talk

Letter from Ella to Opa

Berlin, Charlottenburg
18th of August 1940
Droysenstrasse 14

My beloved boy, 

Just as I had mailed your letter, I found your birthday greetings at home, and on the next day another two letters, also a letter from Rose and one from Hanna. First of all I want to answer all your questions, everything else will come in my next letter, when I have a bit more time. From Easter till October 1910, I taught the son of the composer Portnoff, then I had a substitute position at the all girls highschool of St. George in Berlin from October 1910 till Easter 1911.
Then from Easter 1911 till 1918 I taught at the Langwehen Highschool for girls and led the Ordinariat for a class from the 5th to the 1st class. I resigned because we were expecting our Pattilein. After that I took substitute jobs at private and city schools, like at the Saechsische Hohenzollern Highschool and Princess Bismarck school until 1933. In addition, I gave private lessons, preparing for Gymnasiums and Abitur, except in Latin, Math, Physics and chemistry.

All of my pupils did well with their exams.  Since 1933 I am teaching at the H.V. (no idea what that means) and also for the last three years at the Jewish Learning House, located at Marburger Street. So, that is all, I will send pictures next week, have to have some taken first. How much I enjoyed Pattie’s little picture, I cannot tell you how much!  Every time I get sad, I look at it, and tell myself, when the children look so happy and well, the mamas have no right to be sad. But the longing does not become less because of that. Every morning and evening your pictures receive a little kiss, and sometimes I really talk to them. Long time ago I would have considered that “crazy”, but now it is something I need. Sometimes I convince myself that you can feel all of this.

Hilde never received a letter from you, Hunschen. She sent you a card, but as of this day never received an answer. She is coming to see me on Tuesday. I will write to you again then.

I close for today, my beloved boy
I kiss you my Hunschen
Your Mama

 (On the side of her letter, a scribbled note.)
My good boy. Since I happen to be here, I send you heartfelt greetings.
Your Aunt Juling

Opa must have asked Ella for information on her teaching experience. I'm not sure why though. I thought they had discussed all of that and that he was to tell her that the borders were closing and her chances were practically nonexistent. So perhaps the two letters from before were older letters that finally got through the censors. 

I wish Ella was able to talk more about Opa's birthday card than her teaching experience in anxious hope that her qualifications might somehow help her get into the United States. I'm mad that she should have to prove herself somehow to be useful in order to be accepted. 

It looks like Opa might have sent Ella one of the many pictures Patti sent him. I love Ella's honesty and her grace with herself. She recognizes that she might have thought talking to her children's pictures as if they could hear and respond is a little crazy- but she also knows that she needs to do it, and it is actually what keeps her sane. She continues her relationship with her children through pictures, and letters.

Ella reminds Opa that he has not written Hilde, although how can she be sure he didn't write? Not to make too light of the whole situation, but this certainly is a perfect scenario for anyone who doesn't want to write a letter but can blame the missing letters on those "damn Nazi censors." Hahaha.

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